The Practical Mac Buying Guide (November 2023)

Looking to buy a new Mac soon? Figure out which Mac is the best one for your needs and budget. This practical guide will help you decide between a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini or Mac Studio.

Comments: 21 Responses to “The Practical Mac Buying Guide (November 2023)”

    sury
    5 months ago

    Thanks a lot Gary. Very useful.

    Wade Nofziger
    5 months ago

    I am thinking about getting a new iMac, but not sure which version to get. We are retired and I use this for my main "desktop" efforts. I need several USB ports for various things, but otherwise, the use is just general stuff. I am thinking about the mid-range one. What do you recommend?
    Thanks.
    Wade

    5 months ago

    Wade: It all depends on your needs and budget. What do you use it for? As for USB ports, you can always get a hub with any Mac you choose.

    Cliff Gittens
    5 months ago

    I want to upgarde my 2017 27" Imac with a Mac Mini M2 basic model. I only use 166 MG of disc space on my Imac so it should all fit into the 256 MB on the Mac Mini. However, I am concerned about how to migrate the data over to the Mini Mac using Migration Assistant. My concern is that I use a bootable external SSD (Thunderbolt enclosure) as the main drive on my Imac. Would anyone know if it is possible to use Migrations Assistant to go from a bootable external SSD to the new Mac Mini M2.

    Dan Majerczyk
    5 months ago

    For me, this article was perfect. I've been having issues with my IMAC 27", which has an Intel chip. Your article spelled out everything I needed to help make my decision. I've decided to go with the Mac Studio. My only question is should I wait until it's available with the M3 chip?

    Thank you in advance, I read your articles regularly, because they are helpful and written in a way I can understand.

    Dan.

    5 months ago

    Cliff: If you are using 166GB on your Mac now, I wouldn't stick with 256GB as your needs are likely to increase. Future-proof it a but with at least getting 512GB. I don't recommend 256GB for anything except very specialized uses. You should be able to use Migration Assistant, but the worst case is you just connect the drive and bring things over manually.

    5 months ago

    Dan: You can wait for the M3 Max Mac Studio, but then there will be an M4 after that. There is always going to be something new coming soon.

    Bill Grimm
    5 months ago

    I have a 2017 Imac 27". If I were to upgrade to a Mac mini or Mac book, would I be able to use my current 27" screen with either? Thanks Gary.

    Melvyn Halbert
    5 months ago

    You made a point that the higher-end MacBook Pros have Thunderbolt 4 ports. The current models of 13" and 15" MacBook Airs also have Thunderbolt 4, at much lower cost. Moreover, some colors of the 2023 MacBook Airs are now widely discounted ($200 off list price for the 13" and $250 off for the 15"), which makes them even more attractive.

    Bruce Slomka
    5 months ago

    Thanks for your excellent review and suggestions. One reason for the casual and non-pro user to consider upgrading to the 14" or 16" model is the gorgeous screen. The XDR display makes using the computer so much more enjoyable even if all you are doing is surfing the web or opening email.
    Bruce

    5 months ago

    Melvyn: That's not correct. The M2 MacBook Air has Thunderbolt 3 ports. See https://www.apple.com/macbook-air-13-and-15-m2/specs/

    Paul Guenther
    5 months ago

    Hi Gary,
    I bought a new iMac a year ago with 512GB SSD option. It is now a year later and I am unable to install the latest update. I have cleared all photos and music from my HD and moved as many apps as I could to the cloud. I was able to squeeze in the update but now I have continual problems maintaining connections to OneDrive, and now I can't run any apps due to lack of memory. I think Apple should drop the 512gb option.

    5 months ago

    Paul: Yes, it definitely seems like 512 is too little for your needs. Meanwhile I have others arguing with me that 256GB is enough for people 😖

    Nancy Y
    5 months ago

    Hi Gary, Is it possible to use the (new) iMac screen with the new MBP M3? As the only and/or second monitor?
    Thanks for this! I didn't even know they came out with M3 on MBP... procrastination pays!

    5 months ago

    Nancy: Not really. There are ways, but it isn't straightforward and it won't get good results. AirPlay to the iMac would be the simplest option, but the speed won't be what you expect with a second screen directly connected. If you really need a second screen to get work done, get an actual external display.

    David Wright
    5 months ago

    Hi Gary,
    As always great information clearly laid out. I have an iMac 27" 2020 model so still some use yet but I had been wondering where to go when I do decide to change, I would not like to go down to a 24" model. This video has certainly given me much food for thought. Thank you

    Alan
    5 months ago

    This was a terrific video and told me everything I wanted to know. i was particularly interested in your take on laptops because although I have a iMac I wanted to laptop to take on holidays

    Sharon Nale
    5 months ago

    I am 80, and my husband always did the buying, but he is gone now. I need a new computer, and wonder if I will be able to transfer the data from my old laptop onto my new computer just by plugging in a cord from one to the other? I saw you do this on a different video. I mean, I am not so educated on computers. It sounds so simple. Will it be? Or should I hire a professional to do this for me? Thank you. I want to do it myself because it would help me believe in myself again!

    5 months ago

    Sharon: Yes, you can use Migration Assistant. Hard for me to guess if this will be easy or hard for you, but that's how it is normally done. See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204350

    Thomas
    4 months ago

    In June, 2023 I bought a Mac Studio M2 Max which i have paired to a Dell U3223QE monitor. This is a great combo. Lots of great features, fast and easy to use. I got tired waiting for apple to release an M3 iMac

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